The Fun Show in January should set the pace for 2022. I expect prices to be stronger. Some alternatives for collecting are items that match up with your interests. Do you collect Nationals? If so, you might want to look into the BEP’s Die Proof illustrations of National Bank vignettes. You will be able to find Vignettes of President Garfield’s image from the $5 1882 note issued after his assassination. It replaced the Original and 1875 issues vignette of Columbus sighting land. Garfield was so well known that his name is not included under his portrait. The image of Ben Franklin Flying a kite to discover if lightning was electricity and Liberty Flying on an Eagle are separate vignettes as seen on the Ten dollar, First and Second Charter notes. The list goes on to include vignettes of the Twenty, Fifty and up, including General Scott entering Mexico City. The good news is these vignettes come in great shape as a rule and you can enjoy the vignettes for $100 or a bit more, or a bit less. If you like to exhibit at Shows these Die Proofs make great additions to a National Exhibit.
Do you like Fractional Notes? Look into Heath Counterfeit Detectors. They date to the 1860’s and include various notes on plates in the books. One edition has a sheet of Fractional notes. Others have ½ sized vignettes of the regular notes of the day. I have acquired these books over the years for $200 to $300, with $300 bringing a pretty nice copy. If you are trying to save money, think about the Very fine 35 grade. The notes are bright, well centered as a rule and look like Extra fine notes with just a tad more wear. Most of my “Rare” notes are in the Very Fine 20-25 range. I try to avoid soiling and will tolerate a “net” designation if the note faces up well. My $1 1928 C Star fits that definition. It i faces up nicely and was affordable for me at $2,000 in a recent Heritage auction. I also accept rare well-worn notes as in My Minneapolis 1928 FRN $50 star. It is a not too awful 12 but is the second finest of only 4 known notes. The finest is a Very Fine 20 grade. For me patience and the chase are the best parts of collecting.
Books are another inexpensive way to enjoy the hobby. Peter Huntoon’s books on National Bank Notes and Territorial Nationals are exceptional. I will probably never own a Territorial National, but it is fun reading about them. I have to settle for Michigan and Wisconsin Territorial Obsolete, which encompass a lot of history. Another enjoyable book is 100 American Currency Notes by Q. David Bower and David M. Sundram and with a foreword by Chet Krause. Full of great notes and commentary. One of my favorites is any edition of The Early Paper Money of America by Eric P. Newman. This is a book filled with great information on our Colonial and Continental paper. I’m interested in your thoughts, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org I answer all messages.